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Musings from the shed.

Rob Elshire

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Biden’s Win, House Losses, and What’s Next for the Left

The corporate Democrats are blaming progressives for a mediocre performance at the polls. Progressives won big. It was the corporate Dems who didn't do so well. AOC explains why that is and why the corporate Dems need to get their shit together or there will be Trump version 2 in 4 years.

More here.

Rob Elshire

'Very worst of the pandemic' ahead in US with no apparent strategy, experts say | World news | The Guardian

Between the calling of the election and the installation of a the new president, it looks like there will be no plan for dealing with the pandemic from the Trump administration. Not that this is new or anything. It is cold and flu season in the US and there are the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years holidays on top. Those holidays typically involve travelling around the country, gathering in large groups, and sharing meals. There are a lot of people acting as if it is over. Ugh.

Reddit discussion.

Rob Elshire

Trump is the loser.

1 min read

For the last 4 mornings, I have woken up wondering if the US presidential election had been called. This was the morning. Joe Biden won. Donald Trump Lost.

In an end fitting such a surreal election, Rudy Giuliani was holding a press conference making shit up about election theft at the time the announcement came through. The press conference was held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Perhaps the venue was chosen because the only place there was going to be a happy ending possible for Rudy is at the Fantasy Island adult book store next door.

Rob Elshire

A Distasteful Encounter with William F. Buckley Jr. by Gore Vidal

This article was published in Esquire Magazine in 1969. This is the year after the (in)famous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. When the police rioted during the convention, the press called it what it was. Much different than we've seen from the press in recent years.

Both Buckley and Vidal were active commentators in those days -- coming from very different perspectives. There is a lot of Trump in Buckley as recorded by Vidal in this article. The last bit really sums it up.

Since I began this operation with a story from The Lakeville Journal, a sense of symmetry impels me to end with another newspaper quotation. During Buckley's campaign for Mayor of New York, The New York Times took exception to his "slurs on Negroes," and accused him of pandering to "brutish instincts." Buckley wanted to know to what brutish instincts he was appealing and The Times made answer, "Those instincts are fear, ignorance, racial superiority, religious antagonism, contempt for the weak and afflicted, and hatred for those different from oneself."

The roots of Trumpism go back at least this far, but really much farther.

Rob Elshire

Donald Trump vs. Democracy

2 min read

My old friend Trent Shepard from Urbana Illinois / Stephen's Bay NZ spent a few days with us this week. We watched much of the PBS coverage of the election yesterday. Too much really. We took a pause to bbq and have a really nice dinner sitting outside on our deck. When we finished, Trent, Robyn, and I went back out to the shed where the TV is a few minutes before Trump took the stage to speak. It was 2:30 AM Eastern time, but 8:30 PM here.

It was the most surreal thing I have ever seen. The president of the United (sic) States claimed that his voters were being disenfranchised by counting other peoples' votes. He declared that as far as he was concerned he already won the election and the voting must stop. He said he would take it to the supreme court.

We were in shock. The PBS commentators where in shock. Even though we had been warned about this scenario by Bernie Sanders a few weeks ago. Now the count goes on as does the dumpster fire that is 2020.

For me, the biggest take home lesson from this election, is that there are millions of selfish, bigotted Americans who agree enough with Donald J Trump to vote for him. Like nearly half of the people who voted. At the same time, the Democrats put forth an old, centrist, neo-liberal as the alternative. This makes me so, so sad.

The COVID-19 pandemic will rage on in America due to these selfish, bigotted people. Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, Ya'll Queda, under the leadership of Donald Trump, are racing headlong to Pyrrhic victory -- "Give me liberty and give me death". This is not fun to watch.

Rob Elshire

Is a Vote for Biden a Vote for Science? - YouTube

Just the other night we were having dinner with a small group of scientists. The discussion turned to the US election. I was asked, "Wouldn't Biden be better than Trump?" My response was "Better is not the same as good." There is a bit of that sentiment in this video.

Rob Elshire

Rob Elshire

Home | Vote NZ

So it is an election year in both of the countries where I am elegible to vote: Aotearoa New Zealand and the United States of America. 

Here, in Aotearoa, the government wants you to vote. They make it easy for you to be informed about the processs. They make it easy to be registered (actually, it for anyone elegible to vote, registration is compulsory but voting is not). They provide weeks of polls being open so that everyone has an opportunity to vote.

This stands in stark contrast to the United (sic) States of America. There, the republican led federal government has been making it really hard for people they don't like to vote. This includes political decisions damaging the postal service's ability to do what it is supposed to do: deliver mail. At the state level, poll placement, hours, numbers of voting boths, purging of voter rolls, etc. make it difficult to vote. Not to mention, that election day is on a Tuesday. WTF America?

Yesterday I cast my votes in Aotearoa. One for the local parlamentary candidate, one for a political party, and one each on two referendums. Easy, peasy. With contact tracing, hand sanitizer, and social distancing. All very safe and sensible -- even when we have not had any new community cases of COVID-19 for over a week.

This morning, I got an email from Tompkins County New York. It let me know that my absentee ballot had been received and would be counted in the Federal election.  It could be that the safest place to cast your ballot for US president is in New Zealand...

I've written previously about my vote for US president. What I had not thought about at the time was that I would have a vote for the vice president as well. I chose AOC.

The outcome of the federal elections will still leave the wealthy running the country, regardless of which party prevails. It is not a matter of if most people will be screwed, just a question of by whom and how badly. Time will tell.

Rob Elshire

Rob Elshire

What If Trump Refuses to Concede? - The Atlantic

This was in my feed this morning. Read it just after an email from an old friend in Illinois. Very troubling times.

Via MetaFilter.